Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rock Climbing and more

(click on a photo to get a large version)
1: Me and kids in the jungle
2-4: Climbing at Gua Kalam, Near Thai border.
3: Our Hammocks at climb site
4: Evening meal
Editing the blog after 1 month's absence. tried last week, but had problems with the computer.

I'm now on holidays - yay !! after 14 MOE (ministry of education courses). of 5 days each. it's a record, apparently for an expat. Most other expats went on the Puteri Matsuri tall ship for 2 months during their contract. I did not volunteer, cause I heard you get a bit isolated as a Matsaleh (white guy), as they all speak Malay at the dinner table, and even during briefings (which are officially in English). It was total immersion for Gil, my flatmate. He did learn a lot of Malay, but it was rather lonely at the start.

Of the Thailand tommorow, then KL briefly, then Brisbane. I've never been to Thailand, so I'm quite excited.

a few weekends ago, went rock climbing with 2 quebecois flatmates and the 2 new aussie girls Tammy and Selena. was a lot of fun and energising, first time I've lead climbed seriously in over 2 years. But it came back quickly. Took a ferry for an hour to Kuala Perlis, then 2 taxis for 45 minutes to Gua kalam - where there is a picknic area, a large cave and rows of bolted , short climbs.
Also thursday 19 July, had a party at my place, celebrating the end of my contract and also my birthday. I get older every day ! but also fitter, it seems. As I said eralier, my stomach has lost a lot of fat, and I have quite a bit more muscle in the biceps and shoulders.

at the party, we had the matsaleh crew (white guys), but also a reasonable number of Malay trainers, which was nice.

it's been character building, bodybuilding, confidence building and interesting being here. I am looking forwards to working in less hot climates, and with kids who you can really converse with.

Also to doing less repetitive work, as there isn't all that much difference week to week with the courses here, which can lead to boredom, or lassitude in the trainer. In Oz, schools sometimes do 5 days in a row of trekking, (we do one here), which is quite pleasurable for the trainer, as the landscape changes every day, he does a "real" outdoor activity, and he has a chance to see the group's navigation skills really progress with his guidance.